Baker leads UGA women to easy win

ATHENS - Sherill Baker had 15 points and 10 of Georgia's season-high 21 steals, leading the No. 13 Bulldogs to an 81-42 win over Mississippi State on Thursday night.

Tasha Humphrey scored 18 points and Cori Chambers and Janese Hardrick each had 15 for Georgia.

Georgia (13-4 overall, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) gained momentum for Sunday's home game against No. 3 Louisiana State with one of its strongest defensive games of the season. Georgia forced 32 turnovers.

Mississippi State (6-12, 1-4) suffered its third straight loss - each coming to SEC opponents in the Top 25. It has been held below 50 points in six losses this season.

Amy Reeder led Mississippi State with nine points. Mamie McKinney had eight points and seven rebounds.

Georgia ranks fourth in the nation in scoring but only 195th in scoring defense with its average of 65.8 points allowed per game.

Georgia's defense took the lead in the first half Thursday night. Mississippi State trailed 28-9 before finally reaching double figures with 6:17 left in the first half. Georgia forced 19 first-half turnovers.

Georgia had 12 steals in the half, including six by Greater Atlanta Christian grad Baker, the NCAA leader with 5.1 steals per game.

With her second steal, Baker moved past former South Carolina star Jocelyn Penn (1998-2003) for second place on the SEC's all-time list. Baker has 368 in her career, leaving her only four behind all-time leader Tan White (2001-05) of Mississippi State.

Kedra Holland-Corn (1996) and Adrienne Shuler (1989) also had 10-steal games for Georgia.

The Lady Bulldogs led 42-17 at halftime and kept the pressure on early in the second half, outscoring Mississippi State 26-10 in the first 10 minutes after halftime. Alexis Kendrick's 3-pointer pushed the lead to 41 points at 68-27 at the midpoint of the second half.

A basket by Baker pushed the lead to 43 points at 74-31.